Big Cat’s Turkey Meatloaf WITH NOT-SO-SECRET SAUCE

Tell some people every ingredient in a dish and they’ll never try it. But if you wait until after they’ve tasted a to go into full disclosure, they’ll be pleasantly stunned at what they’ve just eaten. This gluten free meatloaf is kept moist by mushrooms—the idea of my cooking buddy Catherine McConkie—and has great umami flavor from anchovies. Just wait until they’ve tried it to tell your guests.

MAKES 6 SERVINGS
PREP TIME: 20 Minutes
COOK TIME: 1 hour

SAUCE

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup small dice yellow onion
Sea salt
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 cups tomato puree
1/4 cup Grade B maple syrup
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cinnamon stick

MEATLOAF

5 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced small
1 small carrot, peeled and diced small
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 skinless, boneless anchovies, rinsed, and minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano, or 2 teaspoons dried
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey thigh meat

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté until translucent, 3 minutes, and add the garlic. Sauté about 30 seconds more, then stir in the tomato puree, syrup, vinegar, cinnamon, and salt. Reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until thickened and reduced, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and set aside 1 cup of the sauce for the meatloaf (reserve the rest of the sauce for another use).

While the sauce is simmering, make the meatloaf. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put the mushrooms in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are finely ground. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and sauté until tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, garlic, anchovies, salt, and pepper, and sauté 1 minute more. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the mustard, oregano, thyme, parsley, and mushrooms, and mix to combine. Add turkey and mix gently with your hands, just to combine. Shape the meat to fit into an ovenproof dish. Top with the reserved 1 cup of sauce. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow the turkey meatloaf to rest, covered with aluminum foil, for 10 minutes. Slice and serve immediately.